The Buffalo Creek Disaster Essay, Research Paper
The Buffalo Creek Disaster
This Book was an outstanding depiction of how our court systems in the United States work. Gerald Stern, from the time he had accepted the case, in my opinion, was out for establishing justice. The Buffalo Creek Disaster left hundreds of people to suffer without homes, belongings, jobs, family, and friends. By the fault of the mining company, these people s rights were violated. The rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were stripped away from them in a few hours by the flood.
I think the courts, Congress and attorneys all have roles and are obligated to establishing justice. The courts are obligated to be there to listen to and make sure that people are getting a fair chance for their case to be presented. The courts are there to make sure no corruption or slander is taking place. It is the court s job to filter out any unnecessary baggage that may be brought into the picture. The courts are there to make sure everything goes by the rules and guidelines set up by our constitution and laws. For instance, when Judge Hall had made Pittston give the plaintiffs some documents that had to do with the case, he was making sure everything was being done lawfully.
Congress has quite a different position I think. Congress has the job of making sure the right laws are being made and passed in order for our society to be centered on justice. If we have corrupted laws to work with, then our courts can t uphold justice at all. It is Congress s duty to make sure laws will be passed that reflects the will of our people as well. This way when we do decide to use our court systems, we will feel like it is a fair system.
The attorneys have the hardest role of all three. I think the attorneys are like the student in a college class doing a research paper. They have to present there (plaintiffs) in a manner that is conclusive to the guidelines of the professor (court), which were shaped by the administrators (Congress). For them it is all about the legalities more so, than what they actually care about or think is necessary. People always wonder why attorneys do things that seem unethical or devious. It is because they are forced to work under the strict guidelines of formality. Sometimes the only way to get things done properly is find ways around or ways to use these laws and such to their advantage.
I believe both sides of attorneys did an excellent job on their client s behalf. The attorneys for the mining company stuck within the guidelines of the law in order to do a successful job on their client s behalf, by biding time and trying to discredit a plaintiff that was in the right. The plaintiff s attorneys did an excellent job at staying within the laws trying to disclose legally well hidden information. What each side did just goes back to the lawmakers, Congress, and brings attention to why they should be very careful in making laws. That is what kept the attorneys for the Buffalo Creek Disaster victims from obtaining justice for a while. It was the legalities of the court system, put into effect by our Congress. They had to just wait all the systematic issues out and then present the truth. They also had to face discrimination in many different facets. Those of just dumb mine workers to those of out of state lawyers. The obstacles were not easy.
I think that even though they made it through all of the obstacles and adversity, the victims of the Buffalo Creek Disaster were not compensated enough for all they went through. Like how one of the victims mentioned that the money still couldn t get rid of the memory and nightmares. To be honest, I don t think that there could have been any amount of monetary reward that could repay the victims for what they lost and what they gained. I personally think that justice was not achieved for that matter. Then again, if I were to comment on justice being achieved in the legalistic sense, then yes. All of the proceedings were handled according to the law, and one side prevailed over the other fairly. This to me would be justice in the Constitutional sense.
I think the book was put together very well in the sense that it was written by a lawyer. The way the Chapters were separated and titled as to give quick reference. Also the way the book was written in story form as to be appealing to the reader. Stern did an excellent job of recording the events surrounding this case and the information prevalent to it. The way he was very objective in his depictions of the moods and agendas behind the people involved, including his own was very well done. Usually it is wise to be very skeptical towards those who write books involving themselves because of how they might distort the truth a little. In his book, Stern was convincing that he documented truth on the Buffalo Creek Disaster.
I think like every other story, the mining company views it as something completely different. We are learning about this kind of stuff in Social Psychology. One such thing is Confirmation Bias, once someone has made an opinion about something they will ignore things that do not agree and look for things that support them being right. I think this happened throughout the side of the defendants, the mining company. I also think that this happened on the side of the plaintiffs as well, because they could have done more to ensure their survival. Since the victims did nothing to ensure their survival and the mining company was wrong, they chose to ignore that fact.
Another thing that was impressed with was how captivating a book on a court case could be. I didn t think I d actually have the patience to read the whole thing through, maybe skim it. I did however enjoy it, and plan to read more books concerning court cases in the future for pleasure.